Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Marseille travel to Austria to face Red Bull Salzburg in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final with a place in next month’s final in Kiev at stake. The in-form French outfit claimed a 2-0 win at the Stade Velodrome in the first leg, a victory that was kicked into gear with a hand-of-god style opener from the attacker Florian Thauvin.
The method of that opener was a bitter pill to swallow for Marco Rose’s visitors and, indeed, those of us who’d fancied the Austrians to get something out of the game. OM were, in truth, far superior to their visitors with Dimitri Payet central to all that was good about their game. They’re now a 1/10 shot with bet365 in places to qualify.
The Austrians will have been happy to get out of dodge with a two-goal deficit inflicted and faint hopes of making it through to the final in tact. Those hopes, incidentally, are rated at around the 5/1 marker. They’ll have the memories of their remarkable quarter-final revival against Lazio to give them courage; they lost the first match of that tie 4-2 before recovering with an astonishing 4-1 triumph in the second leg.
Can they repeat the trick against a free-scoring OM side? We’re fancying: 1) them to give it a good go and 2) goals to fly as they do so. Accordingly, we’ve picked out a few wagers that should see us collecting some corn at the bookmakers’ expense ahead of what should be a stellar night of European football on the Salzach.
It could be a case of ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ in this one, with the will to support the Austrian’s mountain climbing operation too much to resist at the prices. For all that they were comprehensively beaten in the south of France, where we fancied them to get a result, they’re a different proposition on home turf, as evidenced by their aforementioned quarter-final recovery job.
The 5/1 that bet365 and others offer about them turning the tie around and booking a place in Kiev was mulled over but ultimately passed over as it seems on the short side. Ladbrokes’ quotes of 23/20 about Salzburg winning the game itself appeal as a safer and fairly-priced alternative.
Taking this option, of course, covers both a demolition job reminiscent of their quarter-final display and a narrower win that will end their European journey. It appeals, then, as a one-size-fits-all way of getting a strong home display onside and at odds-against and we’ll make that our main play in the fixture.
Marseille are a side rich in attacking talent, as we witnessed on the Cote d’azur last time, with Payet, Thauvin, N’Jie and Ocampos among the fleet-footed band of attackers they have in their ranks. Garcia is an inherently front-footed coach and they can be relied upon to go out and get the away goal that would get one of their collective feet touching down in the Ukrainian capital.
Therefore Salzburg to win with both teams scoring is an attractive potential addendum to our initial selection. BetBright can offer odds of 13/5 about this eventuality and it’s offered as being worth examining for anyone after a little more juice for their squeeze.
While explaining the reasoning behind our two advised wagers so far, Salzburg to win in 90 minutes and Salzburg to win with BTTS, we’ve mentioned both sides being capable of scoring goals in their own right.
With the way this tie is set up, the visitors will have to rattle the OM backline at some point in the hopes of shredding it like they did the Lazio one. With the plethora of offensive options at Garcia’s disposal, the space afforded to his side by that should lead to chances and they’re likely to have some joy, too.
Accordingly, backing this turning into a high-scoring affair in the total goals market seems reasonable. Over 2.5 goals being scored is well odds-on across the board and, accordingly, doesn’t catch the eye all that much. Over 3.5 goals is 13/8 with Black Type and, with the way we envisage this playing out, that makes some appeal. Should all that come to pass, we’ll have spent an entertaining and - hopefully - profitable Thursday.